U.S. government officials said that if there is a halt in non-essential services as a result of the stalled talks on the fiscal 2011 budget, then the Environmental Protection Agency will put a temporary stop to releasing certifications that 2012 vehicles and fuels meet emission standards.
In addition, the Transportation Department will have to suspend safety investigations as well as rulemaking. Last Thursday, President Obama had a meeting with House and Senate leaders about entering an agreement on the fiscal 2011 budget through Sept. 30.
If no agreement is reached by Congress anytime soon, it would be unclear how long the 800,000 nonessential federal workers (from 2.1 million across the nation) will be out of work.
Wade Newton, an Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers spokesman, said that he wasn’t aware of any interfaces that industry has with the U.S. government that are “super time-critical right now." The Alliance is a lobbying group in Washington that represents GM, Chrysler, Ford, Toyota and seven more automakers.
Newton believes that the government will be able to make up its losses quickly if there’s a short shutdown but that it’s a different matter if the closure continues for a long period. In an e-mail, an EPA official said that the agency will not continue its review and analysis related to fuel emissions standards.
The EPA provides certification that 2012 cars and lights trucks comply with emission standards to cut air pollution. The EPA has ongoing talks with the carmakers, the state of California, environmental groups and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about a proposal for the fuel economy and pollution standards to be set for 2017-25.